Zoom’s Privacy Practices Questioned Amid Rising Popularity

The New York Attorney General wants to know what measures the video conferencing app is taking to ensure user privacy.
Lauren MuskettMarch 31, 2020
Zoom’s Privacy Practices Questioned Amid Rising Popularity

The video teleconferencing platform Zoom is facing legal scrutiny amid a surge in popularity as schools and businesses move meetings online in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company on Monday received a letter from New York Attorney General Letitia James expressing concern Zoom’s security systems might not be strong enough to deal with the surge of users and traffic.

The letter asked what new security measures the company had put in place and noted it had been slow to address flaws in the past.

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“While Zoom has remediated specific reported security vulnerabilities, we would like to understand whether Zoom has undertaken a broader review of its security practices,” the letter said. It also called Zoom, “an essential and valuable communications platform.”

On Monday, the FBI issued a warning about hackers hijacking Zoom video conferences, saying it had received multiple reports of hackers using the platform to interrupt users and display inappropriate or threatening content.

“As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide,” the FBI said in its warning. The agency urged users not to make meetings or classrooms public and to avoid sharing links to teleconferences on social media or unrestricted sites.

The New York Attorney General’s letter also referenced a lawsuit filed in federal court Monday alleging Zoom illegally gave Facebook access to its users’ personal data

On Sunday, Zoom updated its privacy policy in response to user concerns, saying it did not sell personal data or monitor meetings and that its policies were in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act.

“We appreciate the New York attorney general’s engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information,” the company said in a statement to the New York Times.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

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